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Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Mount Baker/Coleman Glacier

It was a great overnight climb with a safe glacier experience.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail was almost snow free. Creek crossing was involved but not difficult. No hazards. The crevasses are starting to open up even below Black Butte camp area, but all of them are easy to walk around or go over. 

     

We stopped by Glacier Ranger Station to register our group on the way to the Heliotrope Ridge TH. The registration is recommended, but not must thing. It was good to stop by to get route information from rangers. We left Heliotrope Ridge TH at 9:30 am on Saturday. The TH was packed with cars. The trail was almost snow free. There were 2 snow patches on the main trail, and 1 on the climbers’ trail. Easy to walk through. The snow patch on the climbers’ trail is almost gone. On the main trail, we had to do creek crossing 3 times. One of them required us to use poles but water was not too deep and the flow was not too strong. The climber's trail was in fog. We arrived at the end of Hogsback Camp at 12:30 pm

We had lunch and left for the Black Butte camp at 1:15. We roped up without crampons. There were many boot paths. There were several crevasses started opening on Football field. We arrived at Black Butte camp at 2:15 pm and camped at 7000’. It was really warm and calm evening. There were 2 or 3 small groups and a big group of OSAT camping there, but the camp site was not crowded at all. 

We (3 rope teams) left Black Butte camp at 1:30 am on Sunday. Other groups (i.e. OSAT) at the same camp site left around 1:30 am, too. Snow was hard and easy to walk. There was the clear boot pack all the way up to the summit. Some part was like a nice sidewalk. There were a few visible crevasses around 9000’ just before the saddle (east of Colfax Peak) on the trail, but easy to identify and easy to walk around.

After getting to east of Colfax, we shorted the rope and walked up on the dirt/rock band, but snow option was also available on the right side of the dirt/rock band. We chose the dirt/rock band because we thought it would be easier to walk than snow.

After the dirt/rock band, we started going up Roman Wall area. It was steep, and deep boot packs everywhere. Snow was still hard (not icy), and it was hard to walk up on the deep random boot packs area.  When we reached the end of Roman Wall, light wind started. At the top, we traversed to climber’s right and walked on the huge flat part toward Grant Peak. There were many people there. The wind started getting strong, and very cold. We unroped and went up to Grant Peak and summit at 6:20 am. Took summit photos and came down. Had some snack break. It was too cold and too windy at this point. We did not stay here long. We left the flat summit area around 7:40 am.

On the way back to the camp, snow was still hard on Roman Wall, but started getting slushy around the saddle. On the Roman wall, there were many groups coming up and some groups coming down, that caused heavy traffic, and we had to slow down or sometimes wait. We went back to Black Butte camp at 10:30 am. The camp area was really windy, and it was hard to pack up tents. We cleaned up our camp site and came back to the trail head at 2:30 pm. This time, we did not rope us up. We could do 2 short fun glissade runs on Football field area. Just had to be careful not to go skier’s right since there was some wide crevasses. But they were far away enough from the glissade trail. It was windy all the way down to the Hogsback camp. 

 

 

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Susan Shih
Susan Shih says:
Tue, Jun 26, 2018 11:17 AM

Excellent write up, Miho!